A new response to Arnved Nedkvitne
We remain confident that our cautiously interpreted papers both respect and add to existing historical knowledge. That is the wish three scientists from University of Oslo and University of Cambridge express in a response to the critical points of view written by the historian Arnved Nedkvitne in Uniforum.
WALRUS IVORY FROM GREENLAND: For the reasons we outlined in our previous comment, however, neither historians nor archaeologists really KNEW where the ivory came from. That is one of the points of view which the scientists Bastiaan Star, Sanne Boessenkool and James H. Barrett express in another response to the historian Arnved Nedkvitne.
We thank Arnved Nedkvitne for his continuing interest in our work, even if we disagree with his negative assessment of its novelty. Of course historians have long SPECULATED that Greenland was the major source of walrus ivory in Viking-age and medieval Europe. The two quotes from Jette Arneborg and Else Roesdahl (provided by Nedkvitne himself) clearly reflect that speculation: "Increased supplies to the western European market from Greenland MAY explain the large number of ivory artefacts that have been preserved..." and "... ihvertfald stiger mængden af bevaret kunshåndverk af hvalrostand markant fra den tid. Grunden er FORMENTLIG, at Grønland omkring år 895 blev opdaget...". In our paper we indeed extensively cite the key authors Nedkvitne refers to, because their past scholarship provided a hypothesis for us to test, which is what scientists do.
We would be happy to continue such a discussion in an appropriate peer reviewed scholarly journal
For the reasons we outlined in our previous comment, however, neither historians nor archaeologists really KNEW where the ivory came from. Relevant here is the large number of medieval walrus ivory artefacts excavated in Novgorod (published by L. Smirnova and referenced in our paper). These numerous artefacts are most parsimoniously explained if ivory was sourced in northern Russia or Fennoscandia. The oldest of the historical interpretations cited by Nedkvitne was written without the advantage of knowing how extensive these eastern European archaeological finds would become. In the 21st century, conversely, knowledge of these Russian discoveries made it essential, and novel, for us to use ancient DNA in order to ascertain whether a Greenlandic or European Arctic source accounted for finds from elsewhere across Europe, given that Novgorod was economically well-connected. We remain confident that our cautiously interpreted papers both respect and add to existing historical knowledge. We would be happy to continue such a discussion in an appropriate peer reviewed scholarly journal.
Tidliere artikler i denne debatten i Uniforum:
• Les innlegg fra Janne Bondi Johannessen: Språk er viktig, ikke minst norsk og engelsk
• Les Nedkvitnes siste svar:Nedkvitne svarer Sanne Boessenkool og Baastian Star
• Les Stenseths siste svar: Nils Chr. Stenseth: - Kritikken er oppkonstruert
• Les innlegget til Arnved Nedkvitne: - Jeg håper bare at kvaliteten er høyere enn på deres historiske forskning
• Les innlegget til Nils Chr. Stenseth: Internasjonalisering er viktig for norsk akademia
• Les innlegget til Boessenkool, Star og Barrett: A response to Arnved Nedkvitne
• Les innlegget til Arnved Nedkvitne: Norsk kvalitet i et EU-organisert forskningsmiljø